Multi-scoped infrastructuring: Forming a knowledge infrastructure for ILTER Network

Academy of Finland project (1/2016 - 8/2018)

PI: Prof. Helena Karasti (University of Oulu)

Project manager: Dr. Tonja Molin-Juustila

Researchers: Dr. Andrea Botero, Dr. Karen Baker, Dr. Elena Parmiggiani, Dr. Joanna Saad-Sulonen

Contact Information

Helena Karasti (firstname.lastname AT oulu.fi)

Tonja Molin-Juustila (firstname.lastname AT oulu.fi)

Description

Large-scale networked research requires knowledge infrastructures that support scientific collaboration. The aim of this study is to develop new multi-scoped alternatives for the investigation and formation of large-scale research infrastructures, since traditional, short-term and small-scale oriented methods and concepts have become criticized as inadequate.

We empirically investigate the formation of knowledge infrastructure within International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network by focusing on the Finnish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (FinLTSER) network, the Norwegian Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER Norway) network, and the United States Long-Term Ecological Research (US LTER) network. In the European RI scene, of particular interest are ongoing developments in European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESRFI). In addition to conducting fieldwork, we continue to analyze previously collected materials of the Shortgrass Steppe Long-Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) site of the US LTER network. Based on these studies (together with our extensive prior experience with LTER networks in the past), we work towards a methodological approach capable of constructing the empirical field for an emerging phenomenon under inquiry and a new conceptual understanding of ‘multi-scoped infrastructuring’.

Our interdisciplinary research combines ethnography, anthropology, science and technology studies, information studies, and those traditions of Information Systems (IS) that have studied information infrastructures and infrastructuring, including Participatory Design (PD) and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW).

Objectives

In contrast to the prevalent short-term and small-scale studies of knowledge infrastructures, we aim to create alternatives for investigating and conceptualizing their formation. We empirically study LTER networks in their multiple, multi-scope, evolving relations. We aim to develop a methodological approach tentatively called ‘scoping the field’ that is sensitive to the extended, emergent, and complex ontological nature of knowledge infrastructures and new conceptual understanding about the processual notion of ‘multi-scoped infrastructuring’. By applying an interpretive, sociotechnical approach our aim is to provide empirical, substantive, methodological, and theoretical discoveries of knowledge infrastructure formation:

1) To construct a multi-scoped ethnographic object within the ILTER network suitable for the investigation of knowledge infrastructure formation for LTER networks we currently empirically study, that is the Finnish and Norwegian LTER networks in European context;

2) To generate new substantive knowledge about knowledge infrastructure formation;

3) To develop and conceptualize the methodological approach of ‘scoping the field’ for the investigation of large-scale knowledge infrastructures;

4) To advance conceptual and theoretical work on knowledge infrastructures with a particular interest in their formation by developing the notion of ‘multi-scoped infrastructuring’.

Empirical fieldwork (updated February 14 2018)

Methodologically, we draw on ethnography in social sciences, particularly anthropology where the use of ethnography in studying global phenomena and settings has been both critically and innovatively explored, and recent developments in science and technology studies (STS) and related disciplines.

In the absence of feasible approaches, one of our major objectives is to develop a methodological approach tentatively called ‘scoping the field’ that is sensitive to the extended, emergent, multi-scoped, and complex ontological nature of large-scale knowledge infrastructures. ‘Scoping the field’ builds on the notion of ‘constructing the field’, and augments the prevalent spatially oriented notions of the field.

Empirical research materials are mainly obtained through ethnographic fieldwork, but also via mixed methods. Participant observation in online and offline settings results in field notes, audio and video recordings, and we also collect documents, logs and survey data. Our research on FinLTSER and research infrastructures in Finland took as starting point the previous involvement by the PI in the initial phases of the FinLTSER network over a period of 10 years. Interviews and collaborative timeline development with a variety of actors involved in the formation of the FinLTSER provided a solid ground for understanding the phenomenon as well as opening up the empirical field of investigation to a wider scope to gain understanding of the research infrastructure landscape in Finland in which FinLTSER network is embedded.

Another stream of empirical research focuses on the case of LTER Norway. Norway has joined the LTER network relatively recently. Through interviews and qualitative observations, we study the gradual formation of a network of environmental monitoring sites according to the requirements of LTER, how various research institutions are involved in this initiative, and the role of the authorities. Two streams are followed at present: first, we are investigating the institutional and political factors influencing the maturing of LTER in Norway; second, we seek to develop a better understanding of the way environmental monitoring is conducted in practice today and how environmental data are managed and curated.

Dissemination activities

Little data, big data, no data? Local data management in the era of Research Infrastructures. Workshop together with INAR RI ecosystems. 26-27th April 2018; Hyytiälä (FIN)

Infrastructuring in STS - Workshop at EASST2018: Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Society together. 25-28th July 2018, Lancaster University (UK)

Infrastructuring in PD - Workshop at PDC2018: Participatory Design, Politics and Democracy. 20-24th Augoust 2018, Hasselt Belgium

Publications

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Part IV. Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 4, pp. 2-9.

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Part III. Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 3, pp. 2-9.

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Part II. Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 2, pp. 2-6.

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Part I. Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 1, pp. 2-12.

Parmiggiani, Elena and Eric Monteiro (2016) A measure of ‘environmental happiness’: Infrastructuring environmental risk in oil and gas offshore operations. Science & Technology Studies., Vol. 29, Issue 1, pp. 30-51.

Pipek, Volkmar, Helena Karasti & Geoffrey C. Bowker (2017) A preface to ‘Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design’. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Vol. 26, Issues 1-2, pp. 1-5.

Parmiggiani, Elena (2017) This is not a fish: On the Scale and Politics of Infrastructure Design Studies. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Vol. 26, Issues 1-2, pp. 205-243.

Saad-Sulonen, Joanna, Eva Eriksson, Kim Halskov, Helena Karasti, and John Vines (2018) Unfolding participation over time: Temporal lenses in Participatory Design. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 4-16.

Karasti, Helena, Volkmar Pipek and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2018) An afterword to 'Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design'. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, vol. 27, no. 2, pp.1-23. (First Online: 06 January 2018).

Karasti, Helena and Jeanette Blomberg (2018) Studying infrastructuring ethnographically. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Vol. 27, Issue 2 (First Online: ).

Grisot, M, Parmiggiani, E, Geirbo, HC, 2018 (2018). Infrastructuring Internet of Things for Public Governance, Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). Portsmouth, UK, June 26-28, 2018.

Baker, Karen S. and Helena Karasti (2018) Data Care and Its Politics: Designing for Local Collective Data Management as a Neglected Thing. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference (PDC’18): Full Papers - Volume 1, Hasselt & Genk, Belgium, August 20-24 2018, ACM Press.

Parmiggiani, Elena and Helena Karasti (2018) Surfacing the Subsea: Politics of Participation in Infrastructuring. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference (PDC’18): Short Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial - Volume 2, Hasselt & Genk, Belgium, August 20-24 2018, ACM Press.

In progress:

Simonsen, Jesper, Helena Karasti and Morten Hertzum: Infrastructural Inversion for Infrastructuring in Healthcare: Insights from the Fasting-Time Project. (In review, submitted to Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices)

Parmiggiani, Elena and Eric Monteiro (2018, in press) Digitized Coral Reefs. To appear in: The digitalSTS Handbook, J. Vertesi, et al. (Eds.). Elena Parmiggiani, Eric Monteiro (2018) Shifting Baselines? Recommendations for Green IS. Thirty ninth International Conference on Information Systems, San Francisco 2018. (conditionally accepted)

Saad-Sulonen, Joanna, + others in MULTICS: Engaging with a complex phenomenon in-the-making: Lessons learned in studying infrastructuring. (to be submitted to Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices or ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction).

Special Issues

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 1. (Special issue Part I).

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 2. (Special issue Part II).

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 3. (Special issue Part III).

Karasti, Helena, Florence Millerand, Christine M. Hine and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016) Knowledge Infrastructures: Science & Technology Studies, Vol. 29, Issue 4. (Special issue Part IV).

Pipek, Volkmar, Helena Karasti and Geoffrey C. Bowker (2017) Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Vol. 25, Issues 1-2. (Special issue Part I).

Saad-Sulonen, Joanna, Eva Eriksson, Kim Halskov, Helena Karasti and John Vines (2018) Unfolding Participation over Time in the Design of IT. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1-3.

Bowker, Geoffrey C., Helena Karasti and Volkmar Pipek (2018) Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, Vol. 26, Issue 2. (Special issue Part II).

Presentations:

Helena Karasti: “Research Infrastructures in Environmental Sciences: Studying and intervening”. Designing Human Technologies - DHT6.0, Villa Santi, June 11-13 2018.

Botero, A., H. Karasti, E. Parmiggiani and K.S. Baker (2018): “The role of research infrastructure formation strategies in opening and closing science”. In panel “Contested Gates – Epistemic and social implications of opening knowledge production and science communication”. EASST2018: Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Society together. 25-28th July 2018, Lancaster University (UK).

Andrea Botero: “The Field, the Lab, the Studio, the Workshop, What about a Forest? Research Seminar public lecture, Department of Design - RMIT, Melbourne, August 16 2018

Andrea Botero: “What does infrastructuring look like? Workshop for Phd students, Department of Design - RMIT, Melbourne, August 15 2018

Other publications:

Elena Parmiggiani, Helena Karasti, Karen Baker and Andrea Botero (2018) Politics in environmental research infrastructure formation: When top-down policy-making meets bottom-up fragmentation. Platypus, The CASTAC Blog, June 2018. Permalink: http://blog.castac.org/2018/06/research-infrastructure/

Karasti, H., A. Botero, K.S. Baker, and E. Parmiggiani (2018) Little Data, Big Data, No Data? Data Management in the Era of Research Infrastructures. Workshop Report, April 2018, Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station, Finland. University of Oulu, Finland. ISSN 0786-8421. ISBN 978-952-62-2006-2. Available at://hdl.handle.net/

Karasti, Helena, Andrea Botero, Elena Parmiggiani, Karen Baker, Sanna Marttila, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, and Hanne Cecilie Geirbo. 2018. Infrastructuring in PD - What does infrastructuring look like? When does it look like that? In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference (PDC’18) - Volume 2, August 20-24, 2018, Hasselt and Genk, Belgium.

Karasti, Helena, Andrea Botero, Elena Parmiggiani, Karen Baker, Sanna Marttila, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, and Hanne Cecilie Geirbo. 2018. Infrastructuring in STS - What does infrastructuring look like? When does it look like that? In EASST 2018 program outline. Available at: URL

Andrea Botero, Karasti, Helena, Elena Parmiggiani, Karen Baker, Sanna Marttila, Joanna Saad-Sulonen, and Hanne Cecilie Geirbo. 2018. Infrastructuring in Participatory Design - an Electronic-zine. Available at: URL